Epidemiologists on the College of Illinois Chicago (UIC) developed and applied a novel, student-driven, contact-tracing program that diminished COVID-19 exposures and infections on the campus throughout the 2020-2021 college 12 months. Outcomes from this system, which deployed UIC college students to conduct each COVID-19 case investigations and make contact with tracing amongst non-clinical campus members, have been printed immediately within the American Journal of An infection Management (AJIC) .
“Though population-based contact-tracing approaches to assist management COVID-19 transmission in U.S. cities have confronted vital challenges, our findings recommend that universities are a singular setting the place it may be extremely efficient, notably when there’s sturdy institutional buy-in for public well being interventions,” mentioned Jocelyn Vaughn, MS, MA, analysis information scientist on the College of Illinois Chicago College of Public Well being and one of many paper’s lead authors. “Universities ought to contemplate using college students in COVID-19 and different infectious illness response efforts.”
Contact tracing is a vital technique to regulate infectious illness transmission, together with SARS-CoV-2, although program prices typically hinder efforts by U.S. well being departments to increase these packages. There may be little literature on fashions that mobilize college students as contact tracers.
Throughout August 2020, Vaughn and colleagues created the UIC COVID-19 Contact Tracing & Epidemiology Program (CCTEP) to carry out case investigation and make contact with tracing amongst campus members with a COVID-19 an infection or publicity, and to observe and report on the evolving epidemiology of COVID-19 at UIC. Staffed by a totally distant workforce of public well being practitioners and skilled college students who have been indigenous to UIC, this system was authorized by the Chicago Division of Public Well being (CDPH) and functioned as an unbiased unit inside UIC.
“We skilled college students to conduct each case investigations and make contact with tracing, which contrasted with the method taken by most Illinois well being departments, however offered each flexibility and cost-effectiveness benefits that contributed to our program’s success,” Vaughn mentioned. “Routine information translation and dissemination, in addition to the partnerships we established with CDPH and departments throughout the college have been additionally important.”
Utilizing REDCap, a HIPAA-compliant data-capture and reporting system hosted at UIC, CCTEP contact tracers promptly interviewed non-clinical college students and workers who examined constructive for COVID-19 via UIC’s surveillance program, a UI Well being scientific web site, or off-campus (as soon as self-reported). The objective was to achieve all instances and contacts inside 48 hours of specimen assortment or publicity notification, respectively, the usual benchmark of contact tracing timeliness.
From August 31, 2020, to Could 22, 2021, CCTEP served 1,009 confirmed COVID-19 instances and 746 contacts. Contact tracers reached 96% of instances in about someday from specimen assortment, successfully quarantining 120 instances previous to changing, and stopping an estimated 132 downstream exposures and 22 COVID-19 infections. Amongst 18 recognized clusters (>2 instances epidemiologically linked via a non-household setting), information recommend that CCTEP averted greater than 100 infections by stopping them from propagating past the preliminary group of uncovered contacts.
“This program offers thrilling proof that non-clinical college college students could be effectively engaged to supply speedy, thorough and cost-effective investigation and make contact with tracing to complement native public well being departments’ pandemic response efforts,” mentioned Linda Dickey, RN, MPH, CIC, FAPIC, 2022 APIC president.
Implementation and Effectiveness of a COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Program at a Massive, City Midwestern College, American Journal of An infection Management (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.ajic.2022.09.025
Affiliation for Professionals in An infection Management
Examine exhibits student-based contact-tracing prevented COVID-19 exposures, infections for college college students and employees (2022, November 17)
retrieved 17 November 2022
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